The Nation’s Number One

Boris StrataForget the Prime Minister, the Labour leader or Nick Clegg (as many people already have): Boris has been voted the nation’s favourite politician.

The Daily Star reports that the London Mayor ‘topped a festive poll on who the country wants to see more of in 2013’.

Boris took 30% of the online vote for MSN, with Labour leader Ed Miliband taking second place ahead of the Prime Minister, who polled just 10%. The newspaper also reports that ‘there was another unwanted Christmas present for Mr Cameron as he won the gong for the politician we least want to see next year.’

Apparently, Boris’ popularity is highest in Bristol (pretty much an anagram of Boris, a ‘t’ and ‘l’ notwithstanding. Makes perfect sense.)

While he may be the most popular politician, the PM was voted Britain’s most influential person ahead of Boris. However, the Daily Star suggests that ‘he stands to lose that in 2013 to mum-to-be Princess Kate and Prince William.’

MSN UK executive editor Pete Clifton said: “The success of the Games, plus headline-generating gaffes such as the infamous zipwire incident, have propelled Boris Johnson into the heart of the nation’s consciousness.

“Brits still can’t get enough of the man, but do they want him running their country? The fact he doesn’t feature as an influential figure for 2013 indicates otherwise.”

The Twitter King

Boris dancing Olympics2012 has been a magnificent year for Britain. So, when Twitter this week revealed the most talked-about events on the social media site this year, what do you suppose came out on top?

The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, perhaps? Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis winning Olympic Gold medals? Bradley Wiggins winning the Tour de France? Andy Murray at the US Open?

No. It turns out that our very own Boris was the most talked-about event of 2012 with Twitter users. The Mayor dancing along to the Spice Girls at the Olympic Games closing ceremony has been revealed as Twitter’s biggest trending topic in 2012, ahead of wars, conflict and major sporting achievements.

The Daily Telegraph reports that ‘The London Mayor’s dance with David Cameron and Samantha Cameron got Twitter users more exercised than England’s penalty exit from Euro 2012, which was the year’s second-biggest talking point.’

Twitter also revealed that The Hunger Games was the most talked-about film of 2012 (ahead of Skyfall) whilst the Paralympics was sport’s most popular trending topic.

And, it was a decent year on Twitter for Bozza the politician. The Mayor was the sixth most talked-about politician on the social media site in 2012, behind Jeremy Hunt, David Cameron and Ed Miliband, but ahead of Nick Clegg.

Sadly, Boris did not complete a hat-trick by posting the most re-tweeted message on the site. That honour went to Barack Obama, whose “Four more years” tweet following his re-election as US President was the most re-tweeted message ever.


Boris in Bollywood

It must be nice to be able to fly around the world and see some lovely far-flung locations all in the name of work. I once had to go to the end of the Northern Line for a Boris press event, but that’s nothing compared to the six days the Mayor has spent drumming up investment from India.

Well. Boris has been to India on a business trip. However, you can be forgiven for thinking that it looked like a giant jolly, considering the pictures of the Mayor that have been published. Boris playing football. Boris playing cricket. Boris on India’s equivalent of the David Letterman show. Boris posing with a bronze replica of a bull (don’t ask).

The Labour Party certainly think that the Mayor should have been spending more of his time drumming up investment for the UK. A source told the Daily Mail: “Boris should spend less time on Bollywood dancing, cricket and football and more time meeting Indian business people. Taxpayers wanting getting jobs not on a glorified jolly.”

The Mayor claims he has been furthering Britain’s interests while in India: even if they are not all sure who he is. Some believe he is tennis star Boris Becker while others think he’s the King of England (well, there’s surely time.)

“‘One businessman said to me this morning that he loved London, he loved the quality of life in London. There are so many attractions of living in London that you can’t find anywhere else. That is a very high card,” he told reporters.

“But another businessman asked about making London more attractive in terms of tax and regulation and certainly the tax regime. As I have said many times before, that needs to be looked at.”

Bozza’s solution to this tax dilemma was to call on his Conservative colleague George Osborne to cut the top rate of income tax. He said: “You’ve got tax rates here of only 30 per cent – a point George Osborne might like to brood on. It’s 10 per cent for freelance income, and of course you have a market of about 600 million people under 25.”
It was a brief press conference, though. The Mayor had a far more pressing engagement: meeting up with Kevin Pietersen and handing out some cricket gear to some Indian kids…

“Doner and chips?” “No, I’ll have a Greek salad, please.” – The future of London’s takeaways?

Everyone likes a bag of chips, a bit of fried chicken or a King Prawn Chop Suey from their local takeaway. But, would you be as enthused about dropping into your local fast food joint for a raspberry smoothie or a Salad Nicoise?

Well, that’s the aim of the Mayor’s latest campaign to try and get people to eat more healthily. The Evening Standard reports that there are an estimated 8,273 fast-food takeaway shops in London, one for every 1,000 Londoners. Now, Bozza has thrown his support behind the Takeaways Toolkit, guidance published by the London Food Board in partnership with the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health.

Boris said: “As a city, as a nation, we are getting fatter. Just over a third of 10 and 11-year-olds are overweight or obese, with numbers rising all the time, contributing to a problem that costs the NHS as much as £4 billion annually”

The aim of the Toolkit is to help Londoners and fast food owners make more healthy choices. One suggestion is for councils to work directly with takeaway owners to cut saturated fats, salt and sugar in their cooking and introduce low-fat foods to the menu.

The Mayor’s push to tackle London’s obesity problem follows similar measures implemented by New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has banned extra large cups of sugary drinks. In June, Mr Johnson responded to Mr Bloomberg’s idea by writing that “where New York leads, London is not far behind”.

So, next time you stumble into Abrakebabra for a late night doner, be warned that if you may not get the meat. Or the bread. Just the salad.

Pay up, Potus

I didn’t realise the two were that close….

So, after three gazillion pounds of spending and a campiagn that’s been going on since three days after Obama was elected in 2008, the American’s have chosen a new President. Well, they have actually chosen their old President, with Barack Obama seeing off the challenge of Republican candidate Mittens Romney.

Now, our own charismatic leader hasn’t always seen eye to eye with the Prez. And, Bozza’s initial reaction to the re-election of President Obama was telling.

Did the Mayor congratulate him warmly on his electoral triumph? Did he wish him well in coaxing a giant world power out of recession and into a brave new era? Did he support his policies to improve equality across the nation? Or did he welcome the re-election of a man who never gives the impression that he has an itchy trigger finger (always the first quality you should look for in a Presidential candidate.)

Er, no.

Boris’ tweet to Mr Obama read: “Many congratulations to @BarackObama on his victory. Looking forward to renewing our claim to America’s unpaid Congestion Charge bill!”

So, the Mayor chooses to congratulate the new/old leader of the Free World with a snide jab at the fact the Yanks owe us £6 million in unpaid congestion charge fees (according to the BBC). Come on, Bozza. Let the man bask in his glory and be nice to him. I imagine your traffic charges aren’t at the forefront of his mind right now….

Is Croydon the next step on the road to Number 10?

It may not seem the obvious next step up the greasy pole to power, but Croydon may well end up being the home to this country’s next Prime Minister.

Why? Well, a veteran Conservative MP has announced that he is standing down at the next general election. Richard Ottaway, the MP for Croydon South, told his constituency party: “I feel now is the right time to call it a day.”

The announcement has resulted in fevered speculation that the Tories will parachute the current Mayor of London into the safe Conservative seat. Mr Ottaway won the seat with a majority of almost 16,000.

The Metro reports that ‘it has already been speculated that such a berth would be suited to the charismatic Mayor of London, should he wish to make a return to Westminster.’

While Bozza has always repeatedly stated that he wants to conclude his second term as Mayor before considering a return to Westminster, this safe Tory seat would give him the opportunity to return to front line politics and make a bid for the Tory leadership after the 2015 election.

Croydon Today says: “Political commentators have this morning suggested the idea of Johnson keeping two jobs for a year would be much easier to sell if his parliamentary seat is also within London, rather than the alternative options of Reigate and Banstead or Mole Valley, also put forward by Tory top brass.’

Fumbling Austrian cyborgs

One’s a handsome blonde with a film star image, oodles of charisma and has enjoyed considerable political success over the last few years. The other is, well – insert your own joke here.

Boris and Arnie haven’t always seen eye to eye. Remember the character Boris played in Terminator 2: Judgement Day? He went to to toe with Arnie and well, let’s just say it didn’t end well for Bozza [Are you sure about this? – Boriswatch Film Editor]

The Daily Mirror reports that Arnie previously described one of the floppy haired toff’s speeches as “fumbling” while Johnson hit back during a speech at a Conservative rally last week, labelling the Hollywood actor an “Austrian cyborg”.

Now, however, the ex-Governator has revealed that he would vote for Boris as Prime Minister (if, of course, he was eligible to vote in the UK, Boris was Conservative leader and the voting system was changed so we elected a Prime Minster rather than voting for a local MP, totting up the MP numbers from each party – you get the picture).

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Arnie said: “He has the qualities which are essential for a leader. For politicians, it’s all about personality. Boris is charming, he’s funny, and he’s very clever.”

The Mirror also reports that the former bodybuilder has warned current Prime Minister David Cameron against copying Johnson’s leadership style in order to win public support. Schwarzenegger told The Spectator: “Cameron must not try to imitate Johnson. It would be a disaster. Johnson is authentic. It has to be organic. Cameron must just be himself.”

Gangnam Style

It’s Conference season in UK politics and Boris has, yet again, wowed audiences and voters with another masterful appearance. The Mayor was greeted at Birmingham’s New Street station by hordes of photographers and received a standing ovation at the Birmingham Symphony Hall just for walking onto the stage.

He wished the PM a happy birthday before reminding Cameron that he’d recently referred to Johnson as a “blond-haired mop”.

He added: “If I am a mop, David Cameron, you are a broom – a broom that is clearing up the mess left by the Labour government, and a fantastic job you are doing. I congratulate you and your colleagues – George Osborne the dustpan, Michael Gove the J Cloth, William Hague the sponge.”

At Boriswatch HQ, this was our favourite bit. Who can’t like a potential Prime Minister claiming to have danced Gangnam style?

Following his speech, I read a lovely article in the Telegraph which suggests that in an era of celebrity, Bozza’s knockabout humour and rockstar image are, actually, the perfect blend to woo voters. But, will he ever get the top job?

Writing in the newspaper, Harry Mount says: “A couple of weeks ago, I had a drink with one of Boris Johnson’s classics tutors at Oxford University, and asked him about his pupil’s chances of making it to Downing Street. “Capax imperii nisi imperasset…” he said.

As Boris will know, his old tutor was echoing the Roman historian Tacitus on the Emperor Galba: “He was up to the job of emperor as long as he never became emperor.””

Bozza takes on the Government…again

The Mayor has never been shy in expressing his opinions – even when that puts him on a collision course with his Conservative Party colleagues. Now, Boris has again risked a rift with pal D-Cam over the coalition’s ‘glacial’ airport expansion policy.

In a speech to business leaders, Bozza said: ““The Government programme to address the looming aviation capacity crunch in the UK is far too slow and I am hugely concerned that their intended timetable sets a course for economic catastrophe.

“This continued inertia is being fully exploited by our European rivals who already possess mega hub airports that they intend to use to erode our advantage.”

The Daily Telegraph reports that ‘the Coalition has ruled out any airport expansion in the south east before the next election and the Prime Minister has established a commission headed by Sir Howard Davies to consider the issue’ – something the Mayor has called a ‘fudge-rama’.

The Mayor and the Prime Minister have met recently to discuss their differences [an ‘informal pub lunch’, apparently. Hope the PM remembered his kids – Boriswatch Social Affairs Ed]. And, the Boris reiterated his support for the PM this week, saying: “I believe David Cameron is going to win the next general election.  The Government is doing the right thing for the economy and is doing what the country needs it to do.”